Vol. 9, June 2020

For the past few months, we've been featuring study abroad alumni on our social media. We've enjoyed hearing their many and varied experiences! For this month's newsletter, we have decided to share some of these with you. We hope you will take this time to read them, follow us on social media (if you don't already), and that you will be encouraged to share your study abroad story with us. 

We believe that studying abroad is a powerful experience that can profoundly affect your life. Did studying abroad expand your worldview, influence your career, help you develop new hobbies/interests/skills, or meet new people (friends, mentors, spouse, etc.)? Did you have a truly unique experience while studying abroad, like meeting a celebrity in the Louvre? Whether you went to HUF in the fall of 1980 or HULA in the spring of 2013, we want to hear and share these stories!

Please email your story and photos to international@harding.edu. Include your name and Instagram handle (if you have one), and indicate the program, semester and year you attended. Because this will be on social media, please keep your stories to a paragraph or two, if possible.

Please share this with your friends, family and study abroad group!

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huintl Alumni Stories | Major Ryan Scott (@ryan.o.scott), HUF Spring 1995: The first, and I mean the very first, thing I did during Summer Experience 1993 was pay my deposit for HUF. The opportunity to study in Italy was one of the key reasons I chose Harding. I had no idea the path it would lead me on. The introduction HUF provided me to the people of Italy inspired my wife, Brook ('97), and I to return to Italy with Avanti Italia in 1999. We were recently blessed to return to Rome with the US Army where I am a military exchange student in an Italian Armed Forces officer course. While in Rome last fall, I came full circle and spoke and sang to the fall 2019 HUF group both at the villa. As a soldier, I was moved by the reverence and respect paid by the HUF group when I joined them as they visited the American Cemetery in Florence for Veterans Day. My time at HUF inspired in me a love for the language, the land, and most importantly, the people of Italy. God has brought my family and me back again and again, enriching our lives immeasurably, and it all began in 1995 walking up a hill past the historic olive groves, eating lovingly prepared food by Anna and Renata, hearing the stories behind history with Dr. Terry Edwards, Robbie and Mona, and making life-long, even eternal, relationships with my fellow students. #HUintl #HUintltbt #tbt @HardingUniversity
Send us your study abroad stories to international@harding.edu
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huintl Alumni Stories | Rob O'Lynn (@drrobolynn), HUG Fall 2000: It felt like days on the plane from Atlanta to Athens. When we arrived in Athens, we almost immediately took a bus ride downtown to Mars' Hill, the legendary spot where Paul preached his famous sermon in Acts 17. To say Mars' Hill is slippery is an understatement, and more than a couple of my HUG-mates slipped climbing down the hill. However, getting to sit on this rock and hear an Athenian preach Paul's sermon in Greek was something I had waited for since the moment I set foot on the Harding campus in August 1997. One of the first sermons that I ever preached was from Acts 17, so it was fitting that reading the text of that sermon was both the first and last thing I did in Athens. My HUG experience was formative for me in so many ways, however, no event galvanized me more than this moment, standing on Mars' Hill with the Bible in hand and the Parthenon as my audience, wondering how God would use me in God's service. #HUintl #HUintltbt #tbt #StudyAbroad @hardinguniversity @hugreece
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huintl Alumni Stories | Courtney Hatfield (@courthat), HUE Fall 2010: I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in England during my sophomore year in 2010. I was a history major at Harding, and I knew that wherever I went I wanted to see as much history as I could. There is something truly amazing about seeing these beautiful cathedrals, or even touching the oldest door in England, and realizing that the history you’re experiencing is older than the United States! We were able to see so many amazing shows, castles, and historic places (like Stone Henge and Hampton Court Palace) that were unbelievable. We even got to go to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) and see all of the stars on the red carpet. I truly loved my experience at Harding, and I loved getting to spend a semester in England and traveling all over Europe.

I teach social studies (AP US History, US History Since 1877, and AP US Government) at Westbury Christian School in Houston now. I use my travel abroad experiences at school on a daily basis. I didn’t realize how much spending time in other countries influenced me until I started teaching high school. There is so much culture and history that we are never going to be exposed to unless we actually go to other places in the world, and I think my experiences and the knowledge I gained have made me a better teacher. Ever since I have left England, I’ve had an ache in my heart to go back. This greatly influenced me recently when my husband (Josh Hatfield, Harding graduate 2013) and I got to chaperone a school trip to Normandy, Paris, and London for the 75th anniversary of D-Day this last summer. Because of my time at HUE, I have an expanded worldview that helps me study and understand history and other cultures. It also helped me grow in my relationship with God. I relied on God’s guidance way more than I ever had before (especially when we got stranded at an airport in Spain when every airline went on strike), and I made purposeful decisions to follow Him during this life-changing semester. Studying abroad will expand your horizons in ways you can’t even imagine, and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had! #HUintl
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huintl Alumni Stories | Lauren Owen (@laurenowen_), HUA Fall 2017: This is directly from my journal that I kept while abroad at HUA 2017; skydiving was one of the most pivotal moments in my life. “We took off and started up to 12,000ft where the other girls jumped out. Then went up to 15,000ft, which is twice as tall as the mountains by the way, and the door opened up. This is when I had to force myself to not think about the fact that my legs were dangling out of a plane. However, this was as scared as I got. I never got that heart-pounding terror that I normally would, instead only peace. I think I just decided that I paid, I had to do this, I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t, so my only choice was to trust Will, my tandem flyer, and know that I would be ok. Since then I’ve been thinking, why don’t I have this mindset in life with God? I’m alive, I have to do life, I don’t want to not do life fully, so my only choice should be to trust that my life will be ok and know that God will take care of me. My main spiritual focuses right now are learning to be fearless, trusting, and noticing the beauty. While writing this, I think God showed me that these aren’t three separate things but things that can help me all as one. In order to totally notice all of the beauty around me, I can’t be focused on the fear. In order to be fearless, I have to trust fully in God and His plan. I have to do life, so I can either fear and have a dull life OR I can trust, become fearless and then purely live in the beauty.” New Zealand is the perfect place to learn to live in the beauty of the life God gave you. Going abroad changed my life by pushing me FAR out of my comfort zone, and I would do it 1000x over again. #HUintl #HUintltbt #tbt @HardingUniversity
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Harding University International Programs

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Arkansas 72149 United States